What is ADHD?
ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is one of the most common learning and developmental disorders that is often diagnosed in childhood and can continue into adulthood. It is described as a syndrome of inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsivity that is diagnosed by a physician based on particular signs and symptoms. There are 3 types of ADHD, including;
- Predominantly Inattentive
- Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive
- Combined Presentation.
How do I know if my child has ADHD? What are the signs and symptoms?
ADHD can often be misdiagnosed and other conditions need to be ruled out (such as anxiety, depression, learning disabilities, behavioural disorders, etc), be sure to see a Naturopathic Doctor to ensure an accurate diagnosis. Some of the signs of ADHD include:
- Difficulty paying attention
- Difficulty remembering
- Constant movement and fidgeting
- Excessive talking
- Interrupting others and daydreaming.
Although it’s perfectly healthy for a child to have high energy and a strong sense of curiosity, ADHD extends to a more serious issue that causes impairment in social and academic functioning.
What are some natural ways to treat ADHD?
Naturopathic medicine is at the forefront in the treatment of ADHD. Pharmaceutical medications may modulate mood and address symptoms but often have serious side effects. Some natural therapies that have been shown to have a positive effect on ADHD include:
- Eliminating processed foods, colour dyes and preservatives.
The prevalence of these foods in our diet is overwhelming and the connection between artificial colours, sweeteners and other preservatives is constantly under investigation regarding the link to hyperactivity and neurotoxicity.
- Testing for food sensitivities (such as gluten, dairy, and sugar)
These immunological tests, performed by a Naturopathic Physician, assess your child’s immune reaction to hundreds of different foods. An elimination diet is also very effective in assessing which foods may be affecting your child’s behavior.
- Incorporating healthy fats and adequate protein
Our neurons are covered in myelin, which are primarily made up of fats. Omega 3’s are vital for improving neurological health and can contribute to reducing the symptoms of ADHD. Protein is also a vital building block of the body and helps to balance blood sugar levels.
- Assessing for vitamin and mineral deficiencies
Many vitamins, minerals and nutrients have been studied in the treatment of ADHD and have been found to nourish and stabilize the CNS (central nervous system). Some patients are at risk of low trace mineral status (such as zinc) and alternate testing for iron, vitamin B12 and vitamin D may be indicated.
- Using herbal remedies to address calm and focus
Botanical medicine is an effective alternative to pharmaceutical medication as it offers a therapeutic effect with fewer side effects (or none at all). There are a wide range of herbs that can be used to address focus and physiologically and mentally promote a calming effect.
- Introducing mindfulness practices and exercise
Exercise (including yoga) raises levels of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine, that help the brain stay attentive. Mindfulness practices also strengthen our ability to self-observe and recognize emotional states.
Although ADHD is based on clinical symptoms, it is important to see your Naturopathic Doctor for a thorough and accurate diagnosis. In my practice, when ADHD is diagnosed, each patient’s unique symptoms are taken into account and an individualized treatment plan is implemented. If your child or someone you know may be experiencing ADHD, feel free to call me at (604) 733-2632 to book a consultation to determine if Naturopathic Medicine is right for them.
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Dr. Kyla Kremblewski is a
Doctor at BodaHealth
in Vancouver, BC.